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					                                    PBIS Newsletter

                           Peer Group Reinforcement for
                              Doing the Right Thing

Peer Group Reinforcement for Doing the Right Thing

               Peer Written Recognition for Positive Behavior and Social Impact

Having peers write and post public recognitions for each other’s positive behavior is a powerful
developmentally informed intervention, appealing directly to the preference of maturing children
and youth for peer social attention. The public positing of peer written recognition is very
inexpensive, but does take some adult supervision to make it effective. Older children and teens
can have major roles in implementing all components of the ritual and systems of peer recognition.

Often peers tend to reinforce negative behavior; laughing at the class clown, or serving as
bystander to bullying. We need to encourage frequent reinforcement by peers of peers for doing
the right thing—academics, socially, and in the community. Such peer group reinforcement is a
behavioral vaccine, and it has a number of variations. There are many studies (including randomized
control group studies and high quality quasi-experimental studies) showing powerful prevention
effects of such peer reinforcement on improved behavior, improved academics, reduced
delinquency, reduced vandalism, reduced violent injury, etc.. One of the best implementations and
studies involves the PeaceBuilders project, which utilized the earlier work of G. Roy Mayer on
praise notes created by students for each other’s good behavior and helpful acts that were posted
on a “Praise Board”.

                                Heather Robbins & Jeffrey Sprague
               IVDB 1265 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1265 541-346-3591

Embry, D. D., Flannery, D. J., Vazsonyi, A. T., Powell, K. E., & Atha, H. (1996). PeaceBuilders: A
      theoretically driven, school-based model for early violence prevention. American Journal of
      Preventive Medicine, 12(5, Suppl), 91.

Farber, H., & Mayer, G. R. (1972). Behavior consultation in a barrio high school. Personnel &
      Guidance Journal,. 51(4), 273.

Flannery, D. J., Vazsonyi, A. T., Liau, A. K., Guo, S., Powell, K. E., Atha, H., et al. (2003). Initial
       behavior outcomes for the PeaceBuilders universal school-based violence prevention
       program. Developmental Psychology, 39(2), 292-308.

Krug, E. G., Brener, N. D., Dahlberg, L. L., Ryan, G. W., & Powell, K. E. (1997). The impact of an
       elementary school-based violence prevention program on visits to the school nurse.
       American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 13(6), 459-463.

Mayer, G. R., Butterworth, T., Nafpaktitis, M., & Sulzer-Azaroff, B. (1983). Preventing school
      vandalism and improving discipline: A three-year study. Journal of Applied Behavior
      Analysis, 16(4), 355.

Mayer, G. R., Mitchell, L. K., Clementi, T., Clement-Robertson, E., & et al. (1993). A dropout
      prevention program for at-risk high school students: Emphasizing consulting to promote
      positive classroom climates. Education & Treatment of Children, 16(2), 135.

Skinner, C. H., Cashwell, T. H., & Skinner, A. L. (2000). Increasing tootling: The effects of a peer
      monitored group contingency program on students' reports of peers' prosocial behaviors.
      Psychology in the Schools, 37(3), 263-270.

Peer Group Reinforcement for Doing the Right Thing

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